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Olive–sized, red leathery–skinned berries, with soft sweet flesh surrounding a hard stone. The fruit is used in China, where it is called a Chinese date, in both savoury and sweet dishes where it is considered medicinal. In the Mediterranean it is often candied or preserved in honey; in Bolivia, it is made into a drink called chicha. The berries are often available dried (pictured) and need to be soaked before use. It is thought by many to be the ‘lotus’ mentioned by Homer in the Odyssey.